A State Skirmish Over N.C.A.A. Amateurism Rules Has Quickly Become a National Battle

December 28, 2020

When Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, suggested recently that the N.C.A.A. tap the legislative brakes on new rules that would allow athletes — be they gymnasts or football stars — to cash in on their fame, Nancy Skinner was not surprised.

Skinner, a California state senator from Berkeley, said such foot-dragging was familiar, something she had first noticed several years ago when Condoleezza Rice — appointed by the N.C.A.A. to head a commission that would propose college basketball reforms — was discouraged from suggesting in her report that players receive a share of the revenue they generate.

“At that point, it was, hey, they’re not going to do it on their own,” Skinner said. “They’ve got to be forced.”


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